September to December 2016
It was back up to Alkborough again on the first day, for the western swamphen which I dipped out on the day before. Not only a county first, but a first for Britain. (Considered to be the same one seen earlier at RSPB Minsmere). Ben W and myself were on the coast, searching for migrants on the 5th, when Kev Wilson phoned from Gib, having found an icterine warbler. We dashed for it and got another fine addition to the list. A few shifts were being put in at Gib, and a couple of days later a pomerine skua showed well. Well, that was the month off to a great start, but the next day produced a mind blowing moment for me- a solitary sandpiper on my local patch. I wrote a full finder’s report on this bird in an earlier post. (see post 01/10/2016). In a very good year for yellow-browed warblers, the first one I saw was on the 15th, at Gib. On the 17th a long-tailed skua was seen with around 40 other skuas at the Witham mouth.
LIST NOW ON 224
As expected this was the busiest period of the year so far. Prolonged spells of Easterlies and a mix of weather conditions meant some good birding at the coast. Twelve new birds logged for the year. A long-billed dowitcher showed well at Frampton, followed by great northern divers seen two days running at Hutoft. Frampton was wader site number one yet again on the 4th, with a superb grey phalarope. Donna nook was enjoying a purple patch where I caught up with Siberian stonechat, (thought to be of the sub species stegnegeri,) pallas’s warblers, rose-coloured starling and red-flanked bluetail. Superb stuff but I still missed a couple. I was lucky to receive info about a lesser yellowlegs which showed very well, this bird, at a sensitive site, wasn’t reported at the request of the finder. A good passage of auks at Hutoft on the 10th included razorbills. The following day a great grey shrike was briefly seen at Gib, I later upgraded this species to self-found with a very showy bird at Wolla bank at the end of the month. I also found some white-fronted and bean geese in this area. The 24th provided me with close views of a glossy ibis at Boston.
LIST NOW 236.
Another superb month’s birding! The Covenham to Saltfleet area was a regular destination. A purple sandpiper gave great views at Covenham. Long-tailed duck was first registered on the 6th, at Hutoft, with 17 at Witham mouth the following day. I missed the pallid harrier at Grainthorpe on 9th but got it the next day. Cattle egret at Skidbrook and rough-legged buzzard at Grainthorpe were added, along with Iceland gull at Manby in a great mid month spell. Then, on the 24th, a leach’s petrel at Hutoft, this was to be my final new bird of the year.
Migration over, winter setting in. I was still out and about trying to find something different amongst the wildfowl. Apart from a run of several inland scaup and a common scoter, no rarities turned up. At the Witham mouth some notable seabirds like shag, black-throated diver, slav grebe, velvet scoter and yellow-legged gull were nice to see, but nothing new for the year. The year came to an end fractionally too early for the waxwings to hit my list. There were some seen but I failed to catch up with them.
Yearlist as follows.
Around 210 from this list were self finds. Additional notable birds seen, including well recognised forms, sub species etc., as follows.
(244) Greenland wf goose. Saltfleetby 04/01/2016
(245) Black brant. Witham mouth 23/01/2016
(246) Pale-bellied brent. Witham mouth 23/01/2016
(247) Siberian chiffchaff. Marston stw. 05/01/2016
(248) Blue-headed wagtail. Marston stw. 20/04/2016
(249) White wagtail. Marston stw. 05/04/2016
(250) Ruddy shelduck. Alkborough. 27/08/2016
Also seen; ‘Channel wagtail’, Eastern jackdaw and sub species of herring and lesser black backed gull etc. Don’t think I can milk it any further. Ooh, just remembered I also saw bar-headed goose and muscovey duck-Wow!
Throughout the year I had a little list going in the back of my notebook- this was for any bird seen or reported in the county that I still needed. Some were gripped back as the year progressed but this list finished up on 37, some of the reported birds wholly unsubstantiated but could be true. Roller, dipper, black kite greenish warbler etc. My biggest misses were waxwing and sooty shearwater, I just couldn’t catch up with waxwings, despite a few turning up very close to home at the very end of the year. (Thanks Trev, for constantly driving round on the lookout!). It was a decent year for sootys, I was doing more seawatching than most birders but my luck wasn’t in with that one, there were a couple of days of significant passage and they were seen on quite a few dates, but I wasn’t in the right place.
During the year several birders sent me texts or called to help me catch up with birds. Thanks to everyone. Special thanks to Ben Ward, Nige Lound, Kev Wilson, Paul Sullivan, Dean Nicholson, Simon and Karen Spavin, Trev Lee and all those who put news out.